Shopping For A Classic

I’ve not been looking to resurrect the boring debate about whether trials should run no-stop or stop allowed, because at the level the bulk of us ride at, it’s very much a matter of personal opinion.

My own long held opinion was to go with stop allowed, on the basis that if I’m struggling up a difficult rocky stream and I momentarily hit a step and come to a short halt before progressing, with no-stop I would have felt perhaps unfairly penalised.

But since the Northern Centre went no-stop for 2010, and several Yorkshire clubs having been that way for a long time, as long as the sections are marked out sensibly, no-stop is pretty good. Certainly, recent events have been spot on for all classes in the trials I’ve ridden.

However, I was at a stop allowed trial on Sunday, a Denbigh and Mold event, and whilst being permitted to stop if I so wished, the clubman sections certainly didn’t merit it. However, the hard course definitely encouraged the use of stopping, and in my opinion it slowed the trial down and was fairly boring to watch as we sat in queues.

Just my opinion of course, but a leopard can change its stripes, or should that be a tiger can change its spots.

Why a Denbigh and Mold trial you may ask? The Welsh club is well away from my normal patch, but you see last weekend was Alan Wright’s classic bike show at Telford and on Sunday evening there was the ISDT/E riders and supporters reunion on the Saturday evening and it was a fairly convenient trial to ride in on the way home northwards.

Wrighty had again done a good job with his show, which is obviously going from strength to strength each year. There were even more stands than there were last year and once again a huge collection of classic bikes on display from the fabulously immaculate to the appallingly tatty and everything in between. And if you want to buy something and you have the cash to hand, you can wheel it away there and then.

But the best idea (for next year if you go) is to make a list of exactly what you want, then trawl the stands and there’s a pretty fair chance you’ll be able to pick up exactly what you want.

But it’s not like that for everybody, because sometimes you come across something that you simply must have, no matter what the condition. It was late on Saturday afternoon whilst returning to my van that me and my trialing pal came across two French guys struggling with several boxes of junk.

“Do you have a wrench to remove the wheel” asked Olivier. Happy to oblige our Gallic friends, I unloaded my toolbox and everything was there to achieve what was necessary to get his pile of old bike into his vehicle. Olivier’s friend was Jean Caillou, well known for riding the Pre 65 Scottish wearing a bow tie and dinner jacket. Inevitably we got talking and Olivier had found the remains of a 405 Sprite which to my eyes was well beyond restoration, but he already has a 405 Sprite in his collection back home and had acquired the remains “for spares”.

Further discussion revealed that Olivier was actually Olivier Barjon, a well known French collector who has ex-works Lejeune Hondas and such exotic weaponry in his possession and who has featured in many a French and occasional English magazine article.

Jean and Olivier are two lovely guys who are as enthusiastic about their sport as we are with our version of the game. Never in a hundred years would I have the inclination (or the ability) to turn a pile of tat into something even faintly resembling the working article, but Olivier obviously felt that what he had was well worth collecting despite the long journey from the Champagne area to Shropshire.

In fact they epitomised the character of the Classic Show, hundreds of like-minded folk there as much for the social occasion as for the goods on offer/display. Next year’s show is already mentally booked into the diary.